Police secure records with Baltimore encryption

PKI from Baltimore will provide computer security for the Metropolitan police

The Metropolitan police are to apply new encryption protection to their network after signing a deal with Irish computer security company Baltimore Technologies.

The Met -- Britain's largest police force -- will use Baltimore's UniCERT Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to authenticate and secure the 50,000 users with regular access to its network, which stores sensitive data such as criminal records.

PKI is a platform architecture that secures a network by providing each user with a digital identity and is managed by a central digital certificate authority. "Digital certificates give our members the confidence and security which is necessary to enable secure access to vital information," said Royston Barker, head of the infrastructure program at the Met. "They help to ensure transaction information remains secure and confidential and that only authorised parties can access specific databases."

PKI is widely perceived as an important network technology, although there is currently no single standard for its implemention.

Aiden Gallagher, executive vice president of global business development for Baltimore, says that the deal will hopefully open the way for it to provide security other police forces, in the UK and abroad.

"It's a very big account," he said. "You're not going to get somewhere more concerned with security. The Met will be regarded as a very reputable organisation abroad."

Baltimore this week also announced a deal with Earthport, a company that provides digital payment technology for Internet commerce companies.

Gallagher said that providing the security layer for Earthport may help Baltimore to get a foothold in the Internet payment market itself.

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